When It's Over, Let It Remain Over
In the classic ethical work, Orchos Tzadikim (ch.21), we find stated, "If two people quarreled and afterward made peace, neither should later say to the other, 'The reason I behaved as I did is because you did this and that to me.' Even if the person saying this does not intend to resume the quarrel, such a remark is apt to rekindle the dispute, since the other person will probably retort, 'No, it was really your fault.'"
It's often true that after a dispute both people blame the other not only for what the other person said, but even for what they themselves have said.
"I'm not usually the type of person who speaks or acts this way. And since I did speak and act this negatively when interacting with you, it's your fault that I did so. I wouldn't have spoken this way or acted this way if it hadn't been for you."
The need to justify ourselves is strong. Even if no one else is present, we want the other person to know that he is at fault and we weren't. But we need to overcome this pattern in order to prevent the continuation of a quarrel that has already subsided.Love Yehuda Lave
My Word: No golden silence in Jerusalem
My Word: No golden silence in Jerusalem
Youth holds stone as Palestinians clash with IDF in the West Bank. (photo credit:REUTERS)
In the early hours of the morning, the intifada is particularly noisy in my neighborhood, like so many others in Jerusalem.
It is then that the muezzin can be heard calling the residents of nearby Arab neighborhoods for prayers. The volume is much greater than that needed to wake the sleepy devout; in colloquial terms, it is loud enough to wake the dead. This is not an act of religious freedom – it is part of the ongoing psychological warfare. And the sermons sounding out oh-so-loud and clear in the wee hours are not calling for peace and quiet: They are adding fuel to the intifada flames, broadcasting the message of jihad.
When the heavy rains began falling in Israel last week, many of us prayed that they would dampen the riots. Even hotheaded youths don't like getting wet. And the situation in Jerusalem did calm down – relatively and briefly.
On October 29, Yehudah Glick was shot and critically wounded outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center where he had just spoken on the subject he is passionate about, the right to visit and pray on the Temple Mount.
On November 5, Border Police officer Jidan Assad, from the Druse village of Beit Jann, was killed and others critically wounded in an attack at the Shimon Hazaddik light-rail stop. This is near the stop where three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and 22-year-old Karen Jemima Mosquera were fatally wounded in a similar incident two weeks before.
In Hebrew we have a term for this particular form of attack, carried out by terrorists who need only a vehicle and a perverted ideology.
We call it a "pigua drisa," a running-down terrorist attack. It came into use in 2008, when two Arab construction workers used their bulldozers not to build but to destroy.
The method, and the term, has been used in Israel several times since then and I suspect that the rest of the world will soon search for a similar phrase. Canada sadly witnessed such an attack just last month.
This week's fatal attack was carried out by a terrorist with a clear Hamas affiliation.
The assassination attempt on Glick was carried out by an Islamic Jihad operative, who had already served time for security offenses. The name Islamic Jihad should give you a clue of the nature of the terrorist organization. This is not about creating a Palestinian state. This is war. On the world.
But most of the world finds it too hard to comprehend.
The double standards are sickening – and dangerous.
After more than 30 of its soldiers were killed last week, Egypt swiftly created a buffer zone between Gaza and Sinai, displacing thousands of Palestinians in the process. It could be considered fortunate that at least one country threatened by Islamist terrorists is allowed to take action.
The 4,000 rockets launched at Israel this summer from Gaza apparently don't constitute a war crime in the eyes of the world diplomatic community. Neither does the serial disregard of cease-fires that could have halted all the hostilities and loss of innocent lives. Only Israel's defense is criminal.
I don't know whether this is because the Jewish state was audacious enough to want to defend itself or because – horror of horrors – not enough Jews died during the war (thanks in part to the Iron Dome) to make the casualties "proportional."
The threats to take Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague have not gone unnoticed. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on November 4 told tens of thousands of his supporters that his organization is not afraid of another war with Israel and that his rockets can reach the country's ports and airports.
The fact that he was speaking via video link from a bunker is small consolation.
The destruction by Israel of his stronghold in Beirut's Dahiya neighborhood in response to the rocket attacks in the Second Lebanon War is no longer a deterrent. In a culture that worships martyrdom and a world that automatically condemns Israel, the Iranian-backed master terrorist feels with some justification that he can't lose.
The recent conference by donor states on the reconstruction of Gaza, under the same Hamas leadership that had deliberately caused its destruction, proves his point. It perversely encapsulated the definition of "chutzpah": the man who kills his parents and then pleas for mercy from the court because he is an orphan.
The Palestinians appeared to have co-opted the concept of chutzpah just as they have adopted so many motifs important to Israel and Jews. (Just when did Jerusalem become so central to their world? Not when it was under Ottoman, British or Jordanian rule.) This week it was revealed that the sister of senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk is receiving treatment for cancer in an Israeli hospital. Last month, the daughter of former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh was hospitalized in Israel.
Meantime members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement globally have stepped up their campaign against any relations or normalization efforts with Israel. (BDS apparently doesn't apply when it comes to receiving top-notch Israeli medical care, but perhaps the greater absurdity is that the Israeli government permits this farce ongoing hostilities notwithstanding.) MKs Haneen Zoabi and Ahmed Tibi continue to sit in the Israeli parliament, assured of healthy salaries and pensions, while decrying "the apartheid state" and fanning the flames of hatred.
The light rail, which until this summer acted as a symbol of peaceful coexistence, is now being targeted, we're told, because it passes through Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods.
Were it to stop short of those neighborhoods, Israel would be accused of discriminating against Arab residents.
Strangely the only place in the country that approaches what can be described as an apartheid policy is the Temple Mount, where Jews – not Muslims – are banned from openly praying. The attempt to keep the Temple Mount judenrein can be seen in the Arab riots, where the sanctity of the site – and its mosques – are defiled by thugs throwing rocks and firecrackers.
It is all too easy to present Glick, with his fiery red hair and beard, as a right-wing fanatic. Easy but wrong. Glick is passionate about the rights of members of all the monotheistic religions to pray at the site where the First and Second Temples once stood. In past contact with him, I found him mild-mannered and naive but far from being a rabid racist.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the attack on Glick.
On the contrary, he sent a letter of support to the family of the suspect of the shooting attack, killed as he resisted arrest on the rooftop of his Jerusalem home. Describing Hejazi as a martyr, Abbas said his death is another crime "of the Israeli occupation army against our people since the Nakba."
It is another sign, for those who care to see it, that the core issue isn't the settlements or even Jerusalem. The problem is the existence of the State of Israel.
Leaders who seek true peace do not go out of their way to glorify Islamic Jihad "martyrs."
They seek to stop the bloodshed and calm tensions.
Israeli lawmakers and opinion leaders on the Right would be wise – and morally correct – to use their influence to calm the tensions among their followers. The sanctity of Jerusalem can only be maintained through peaceful means. However hard and painful the present situation, violence and provocation will never provide the answer, only more ammunition to our enemies.
And patience should be a particularly important virtue in a city that's more than 3,000 years old.
A few hours after the November 5 attack in Jerusalem, it was reported that French Socialist parliamentarians, following as similar move by Sweden and the British opposition, were calling for the recognition of the Palestinian state, even without clearly defined borders. I, too, call for recognizing the Palestinian entity for what it currently is: We already have Islamic State.
The last thing the world needs is another terrorism-supporting, borderless entity, dedicated not to peace and progress but to death and the cult of martyrdom.
The writer is editor of The International Jerusalem Post.
By MARTIN SHERMAN \
Surrealism in the square
What took place in Rabin Square last Saturday night distorted Rabin's memory, and dishonored the participants.
Thousands rally at the memorial for slain premier Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv. (photo credit:BEN HARTMAN)
'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.' 'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.'You must be,' said the Cat, 'or you wouldn't have come here.'
– Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland
The annual ritual to commemorate the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin that took place last Saturday night in the square in Tel Aviv which now bears his name, was a bizarre affair. It was a shameful – and shameless – endeavor to wring the last few drops of political mileage from the abuse of the fraying fabrication of Rabin's "legacy."
As if in a parallel universe...
The rally, dubbed "Returning to the Square and Bringing Back Hope," was organized by the Israeli Peace Initiative, a group purportedly promoting regional peace, co-founded by Rabin's son, Yuval.
Regional peace. Hmmm – doesn't that sound eerily reminiscent of a previous "vision" – now widely discredited and largely discarded – of the Peresian delusion of a New Middle East? (It has always been a source of puzzlement to me whether these "regionalists" have ever actually looked at a map of the war-torn, blood-drenched region before attempting to resurrect the demonstrably daft delusion of regional peace – but that is a topic for another column.) The rally's organizers proclaimed that the event was meant to urge the government (the Israeli one of course, not, heaven forfend, the Palestinian one) to promote a "peace initiative."
It was in this vein that co-founder Rabin Jr. addressed the crowd in a speech so detached from reality it could well have been made in a parallel universe where Islam is really the "religion of peace." He informed PM Benjamin Netanyahu that he "no longer has the strength to hold his tongue," and felt morally compelled to demand a "daring diplomatic initiative" that blithely ignored "the Iranian threat at our doorstep and ISIS [Islamic State], Hamas and Hezbollah who threaten to destroy us."
Depressing display of denial and dishonesty
The unmistakable implication was that, had Rabin Sr. not been assassinated 19 years ago, he would have mustered the necessary "daring" required to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinians. (Strange, isn't it, that in the political discourse on Israel, "daring" somehow always refers to a willingness to capitulate to enemy demands rather than stand firm on one's own.) Although I am loath to use harsh language in referring to such a solemn event, there is little other way to describe what was explicitly said, and implicitly insinuated, than as a distressing display of denial and dishonesty that totally distorts Rabin's views on the issue of a settlement with the Palestinians, which he held right up to the time of his death.
Indeed, were the much-maligned Netanyahu to embrace, verbatim, the parameters of the "permanent solution," specified by Rabin shortly before his assassination, he would be dismissed today as an unrealistic extremist.
Thus, in his last address to the Knesset, on October 5, 1995, after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and hailed as a "valiant warrior" for peace, he sought parliamentary ratification of the Oslo II Accords. In it, he laid out his vision for the final formula for resolution of the conflict, and his views on Palestinian statehood, the fate of Jerusalem, borders and settlements.
Recalling Rabin's recipe
What follows are excerpts from his Knesset address, setting out his positions on these issues:
• Palestinian statehood: Rabin rejected the notion of a Palestinian state, declaring: "...the permanent solution... will include... a Palestinian entity, which will... be an entity that is less than a state..."
• The pre-1967 borders: "We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines... And these are the main changes, not all of them, which we envision and want in the permanent solution...," which he went on to detail.
• United Jerusalem: He was unequivocal: "First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev – as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty..."
• Jordan Valley: Rabin was adamant: "The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term."
• Existing settlements: Rabin envisioned changes being made to Israel's final borders to include existing settlements under permanent Israeli sovereignty. He specified "changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar and other communities, most of which are east of what was the Green Line prior to the Six Day War."
• Construction of new settlements: Rabin not only advocated redrawing Israel's frontiers to include existing settlements, he urged construction of new ones, calling for "the establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif."
Rabin's real legacy
Rabin's use of the term "Judea and Samaria" – and not "West Bank – is both significant and instructive. His reference to Gush Katif, the bloc of settlements razed by Sharon in the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, is significant, and poignant.
This then, is Rabin's real legacy, and no crafty choreography – however cunningly crafted – can obscure that. The disingenuous attempts to reconstruct it as an antithetical negation of itself serve only to make it a surreal and grotesque distortion of what it really was.
Act II: Peres-Past pronouncements, present perfidy?
Shimon Peres, until recently president of the state, and Rabin's Nobel co-laureate, also addressed the gathering.
Trapped in Oslowian time-warp?
As if trapped in an Oslowian-era time warp, and oblivious of ongoing realities – the slaughter in Syria, the Salafists in Sinai, Islamic State in Iraq, to name but a few – Peres railed on about how Israel must embrace the two-state solution. Apparently unmindful of the thousands of Israelis who, over almost a quarter-century, have paid with life and limb in the perverse pursuit of that fatally failed formula, he fulminated that the only way for Israel to achieve lasting peace, prosperity and social harmony was to agree to bring Ben-Gurion Airport into range of Palestinian mortar fire and the Trans-Israel Highway into reach of their attack tunnels...
As manifestly unfounded and dangerously detached from reality as Peres's speech was in its own right, when compared to his past pronouncements on the perils of a Palestinian state, the imperative of settlements and territory for the security of Israel, and the worthlessness of agreements with the Arabs, it was breathtakingly surrealistic.
In previous columns I have cited several of Peres's past positions on these issues. However, given the current political context and against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to warp the past beyond all recognition, I feel there is considerable value in reminding The Jerusalem Post's readership of the political perceptions that prevailed and the beliefs that the nation's leaders publicly embraced.
Not off-the-cuff slip-of-tongue
What follows is a catalogue of views expressed by Peres on a range of topics impinging on the feasibility of the two-state principle. In perusing them, readers should bear in mind that these were not off-thecuff remarks or some slips-of-tongue. Quite the contrary, almost all the citations come from a programmatic book written by him in Hebrew and published in 1978, Ca'et Mahar ("Tomorrow is Now) – befitting his obsession of being seen as futuristic. Based on an earlier lengthy interview in the then-influential, now defunct, Labor Party daily Davar, it sets out his ideas of how the affairs of the nation should be conducted.
• Dangers of a Palestinian state I: Peres cautioned with chilling accuracy: "The establishment of such [a Palestinian] state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,000 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other [military] equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
Israel will have problems in preserving dayto- day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens..." p.232.
• Dangers of a Palestinian state II: He predicted: "If a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with antitank and antiaircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passersby, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the Coastal Plain. It is of course doubtful whether territorial expanse can provide absolute deterrence.
However, the lack of minimal territorial expanse places a country in a position of an absolute lack of deterrence. This in itself constitutes almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions..." p. 255.
• Dangers of a Palestinian state III: In his later book The New Middle East, published the very year the Oslo Accords were signed (1993), he warned with commendable prudence: "Even if the Palestinians agree that their state have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the lowlands? And if the Palestinian state would be unarmed, how would it block terrorist acts perpetrated by extremists, fundamentalists or irredentists?" p.169
• Strategic importance of territory: He correctly noted that the greater firepower, mobility and range of modern weaponry does not detract, but enhances, the strategic importance of territory: "In 1948, it may have been possible to defend the 'thin waist' of Israel's most densely populated area, when the most formidable weapon used by both sides was the cannon of limited mobility and limited fire-power... In the 20th century, with the development of the rapid mobility of armies, the defensive importance of territorial expanse has increased... Without a border which affords security, a country is doomed to destruction in war." pp. 235, 254.
• Economic importance of territory: Peres recognized the economic implications of defensible borders: "The resources available to a country are finite. In the absence of a strategic border, the investment in security that a country requires comes at the expense of other needs. This difference in levels of investment in security creates... a qualitative change in the general level of a nation – in terms of its economy, its society and education...
A country that has the advantage of a strategic frontier can invest less... in fortifications, maintenance of battle-ready armed forces, armaments..." p.235.
• Strategic importance of settlements: It will surprise many to learn that Peres was the father of the settlement enterprise beyond the pre-1967 lines, and its greatest champion.
He expressed the need "to create a continuous stretch of new settlements; to bolster Jerusalem and the surrounding hills, from the north, from the east, and from the south and from the west, by means of the establishment of townships, suburbs and villages – Ma'aleh Adumin, Ofra, Gilo, Bet-El, Givon... to ensure that the capital and its flanks are secured, and underpinned by urban and rural settlements... the settlements along the Jordan River are intended to establish the Jordan River as [Israel's] de facto security border; however it is the settlements on the western slopes of the hills of Samaria and Judea which will deliver us from the curse of Israel's 'narrow waist.'" p.48.
• Value of agreements with Arabs: But perhaps the most startling of all is Peres's assessment of the value (or the lack there of) of any pact with the Arabs: "The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring the actual implementation of the agreement in practice. The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than the number which they have kept." p. 255
Curiouser and curiouser
In light of the dismal experience since then, one can hardly believe that his faith in the value of agreements has been in any way enhanced. So why would the former president be advocating the creation of a situation, which he himself designated as one that "constitutes almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions..."??? Especially in light of the prescient accuracy of his past predictions...
See what I mean by surreal in the square?
Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.org) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. (www.strategicisrael.org
Who does Jerusalem really belong to?
Although Israel claims Jerusalem is a united city and that its municipality services Jewish and Arab neighborhoods alike, this has not been accurate for many years.
An Israeli woman (C) and a Palestinian woman gesture at one another during a protest by Palestinian women against Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. (photo credit:REUTERS)
Many columns have been written about Israel's inability to bring about quiet to the Gaza Strip and to reach a political or military agreement that would help normalize Gazans' daily lives. But not much is written about Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was reunited in 1967 and has remained thus under full Israeli sovereignty since then. Israeli law rules there and Israeli police walk its streets.
But is Israel truly in control of all of Jerusalem? Since early 2012, there has been a marked increase in terrorist acts in east Jerusalem. Dozens of Molotov cocktails have been thrown at Jews, the light rail is constantly being stoned and hundreds of Arab youth have thrown stones at cars, telephone wires and electricity poles. There have been several stabbings involving knives and axes and terrorists have run over civilians with earth-movers and cars. The most recent incident was the attempted assassination of Yehudah Glick. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) thankfully succeeded in identifying a number of local suspects either before or just after they carried out attacks and it has been quite impressive how quickly it has been able to uncover the identities of terrorists.
In east Jerusalem, though, the number of violent incidents has skyrocketed.
This is disturbingly reminiscent of how things were in 2000, just before the outbreak of the second intifada.
The dynamics and the security situation are extremely similar.
A number of factors have led to the escalation of tensions that also existed in 1999:
• The first factor is civil unrest. The combination of living in an area with crumbling infrastructure and watching as political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians fail has created a feeling of frustration and has led to violence.
• The second factor is lack strategy.
In the same way the government operated poorly and inefficiently during Operation Protective Edge this summer, it failed to implement a proper strategic plan in east Jerusalem. The city is only actively involved in putting out fires.
• The third factor is deterrence. In the absence of a long-term strategy and appropriate legislation that would back up our security forces, we find ourselves in the absurd situation where policemen spend a good portion of their time running after youths who have thrown stones, detaining and then arresting them. The police have no power to do more than this. They are not allowed to open fire or to respond with more force even when extreme violence is being used. The IDF does not intervene in violent situations even in an effort to create deterrence. The Shin Bet has arrested and interrogated dozens of Arab youth in east Jerusalem over the past two years and has prevented many attacks planned by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Because the government has no overall action plan, the situation on the ground remains problematic.
• The fourth factor is the Palestinian Authority. Similar to the days before the second intifada, the PA leader, Mahmoud Abbas, lacks both the leadership capabilities and the decisiveness necessary to reach an agreement with Israel. Moreover, Abbas makes statements that encourage unrest and disturbances in residential areas, as well as on the Temple Mount, and uses these as a tool to pressure the government.
• The fifth factor is right-wing organizations.
Right-wing Jewish activists are taking advantage of the fact that the government is not actively enforcing municipal legislation. They are purchasing real estate and moving into Arab neighborhoods, thereby creating Jewish enclaves within Arab areas that are already rife with conflict.
The neighborhoods of A-Tur, Isawiya, Ras el-Amud and Silwan have been functioning autonomously for years now. The police rarely enter these areas and the municipality has not built infrastructure or carried out repairs in these neighborhoods; sewage can be seen flowing in the streets. The residents of these densely populated neighborhoods are for the most part loyal to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The only activity taking place there these days is the purchase of apartments by right-wing groups.
Residents of these neighborhoods view themselves as Palestinians and not as Israelis, and most of their municipal interactions are with the Palestinian Authority and not with Israel.
Although Israel claims Jerusalem is a united city and that its municipality services Jewish and Arab neighborhoods alike, this has not been accurate for many years. The only activity the government carries out in these neighborhoods is intelligence gathering in an effort to thwart violence. In the absence of any efforts by the government to improve infrastructure and the standard of living in east Jerusalem, it is only a matter of time before the next intifada breaks out.
The writer is a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Know Comment: Abbas is busted as a 'partner"
He spews out extremist vitriol and seeks the criminalization of Israel in international fora, and legitimizes terrorism when speaking to Palestinians.
US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo this week.. (photo credit:REUTERS)
For more than a decade, we have been told that Mahmoud Abbas was the most reasonable Palestinian leader Israelis could hope for; that he was Israel's best partner for peace; that he was the moderate with whom a grand compromise deal could be reached. Israelis wanted to believe this so very much.
But then came the Abbas who walked away from prime minister Ehud Olmert's outrageously generous territorial offer in 2008, and the Abbas who refused peace talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even after Netanyahu froze settlement construction beginning in November 2009.
Then there was the "PaliLeaks" opportunity in 2011 to ready the Palestinian public for compromise with Israel. But Abbas ran away from that gateway too, vigorously denying the hints of compromise with Israel on refugees, Jerusalem or borders that were in the leaked documents.
Ever since then, Abbas has become an aggressive and deceitful irredentist, the furthest thing from a peace partner. He has used every international forum to spew forth extremist vitriol against Israel and seek the criminalization of Israel. When he speaks to Palestinians, he legitimizes terrorism against Israel and glorifies terrorists. He has cozied up to Hamas and Iran. And he explicitly rejects compromise on any of the key issues that would have to be the basis of a peace agreement.
Let's review Abbas' appalling UN record.
In his 2011 speech at the United Nations General Assembly, he called Yasser Arafat a man of peace.
He spoke of Israel as a "brutal," "aggressive," "racist," "apartheid," "horrific" and "colonial" military occupier.
He accused Israel of a "multi-pronged policy of ethnic cleansing" and of "targeting Palestinian civilians by assassinations, air strikes and artillery shelling."
He suggested that Israel's demand for recognition as a Jewish state would "transform the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict and a threat to the future of a million-and-a-half Christian and Muslim Palestinians, citizens of Israel." He spoke of Christian and Muslim historical connections to the Holy Land – and only theirs. And, most tellingly, he spoke of 63 years of Israeli occupation, implying a threat to the sovereignty of pre-1967 Israel.
Abbas hewed resolutely to maximalist Palestinian goals, including refugee demands, which are the Palestinian recipe for dismantling Israel in the long term. He demanded a state on all of the pre-1967 territories, with only "possible minor and mutually agreed upon land swaps of equal size and value." (Note the phraseology "possible" and "minor").
In fall 2012, Abbas sought to turn the established framework for peace upside-down; to get his statehood "declared" by the international community without having to compromise with Israel; to claim the end result of the peace process without having to engage in any process.
He went before the UN General Assembly and called upon international community to "compel the government of Israel to respect the Geneva Conventions" and "impose a solution" on Israel. Abbas then accused Israel of numerous crimes, including ethnic cleansing, terrorism, racism, inciting religious conflict, apartheid, house demolitions, dispossession, imprisoning "soldiers of freedom," and settlement colonization.
In 2013, Abbas told the UN General Assembly that Israel is preparing a new "nakba" ("catastrophe") for the Palestinians. He demanded that the UN invoke "the full and complete implementation of international law" to penalize Israel's presence "as an occupying power in all of the occupied Palestinian territory."
And he threatened to indict Israel in the International Criminal Court.
Abbas subsequently swore never to recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, never to forgo the so-called right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees, never to accept Israeli security control of the Jordan Valley and other key air and ground security assets, never to allow Jews to live in Judea, and never to accept Israeli sovereignty in any part of Old Jerusalem.
In September of this year, Abbas stood before the UN General Assembly and accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. "Israel's jets and tanks brutally assassinated lives and devastated the homes, schools and dreams of thousands of Palestinian children, women and men and in reality destroying the remaining hopes for peace."
He asserted that Palestinians faced a future in a "most abhorrent form of apartheid" under Israeli rule. He said that instead of rectifying "the historic injustice" of the 1948 "Nakba" (again, note the reference to 1948, not 1967), Israel had committed "absolute war crimes" and "state terror." He went on to rant about "racist and armed gangs of settlers who persist with their crimes against the Palestinian people, the land, mosques, churches, properties and olive trees," and talked about a "culture of racism, incitement and hatred" in Israel.
Even Tzipi Livni was forced to call this a "horrible" speech, and the State Department spokesman admitted that the speech was "unhelpful" and worthy of "concern."
(Yet note: Barack Obama and John Kerry did not rush to publicly reprimand Abbas, as they have notoriously done repeatedly with Netanyahu over much lesser offenses.) More recently, Abbas has taken to explicitly exhorting and inciting to violence against Israel in Jerusalem.
"We must prevent the settlers from entering the Noble Sanctuary in any way. This is our al-Aksa and our church. They have no right to enter and desecrate them. We must confront them and defend our holy sites," he fulminated on October 17.
Note the dark, incendiary, inciting references to "settlers" who "desecrate" the Temple Mount and must be prevented from entering the area "in any way."
Taking the cue from Abbas, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry spread flammable lies about Israeli "plans to destroy" the Aksa Mosque. Its spokesman told the official PA daily newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida that "the Israeli government has been carrying out a plan to Judaize the Aksa Mosque [i.e., the Temple Mount], and the rate of escalation and repression against al-Aksa is increasing... [Israel is moving toward] dividing it geographically and according to time, destroying it and building what is referred to as 'the Temple' in its place... Ongoing calls have been made by the extreme Right to enlist a large number of settlers to assault the Aksa Mosque in order to perform their Talmudic rituals in it."
"Talmudic rituals" is rank and derisive PA parlance for Jewish prayer at the holiest site on earth to the Jewish People.
A direct line runs from such vociferation to the attempted assassination of Yehudah Glick on October 29. Abbas's intemperate rhetoric paved the way toward the attack. It gave a Palestinian Authority presidential imprimatur to the attempts to turn the Temple Mount into the hottest battleground between Israel and the Arab world.
And sure enough, Abbas wrote a November 1 "letter of encouragement and support" to the family of Moataz Hejazi, the Palestinian terrorist who tried to kill Glick and who was shot dead while resisting arrest by Israeli troops. Abbas called Hejazi a shahid ("martyr") and said that "he rose to heaven while defending our people's rights and holy places." Abbas described Hejazi's death as "an abominable crime" carried out by "terror gangs of the Israeli occupation army." He had nothing condemnatory to say about the terrorist attack on Glick.
How far can Abbas go in opposing real negotiation and compromise, encouraging violence, venerating terrorists, and pushing the criminalization of Israel internationally – while still being considered a paragon of peace by the Israeli Left and the Obama administration? What will it take for them to move beyond Abbas and consider other options? This is an important question because of a critical historical precedent: Israel suffered similarly with Yasser Arafat during the Oslo process. Then, too, the Left and the Clinton administration become so attached to the Palestinian leader and the concept of negotiations with him that they ignored his support for terrorism and his stoking of hatred for Israelis and Jews.
When critics of the Oslo process brought up evidence of Arafat's actions, they were dismissed as enemies of peace. Any attention paid to Arafat's "flaws" was considered to be a distraction from the need to concentrate on advancing peace negotiations.
The same pathetic process is repeating itself with Abbas. His extremism is ignored; his obstructionism is overlooked; his critics are dangerously disregarded.
Column One: Terror decentral
Today the main factor unifying al-Qaida and Islamic State and their sister groups and followers in the region and worldwide is ideology.
Security footage of a Jerusalem terror attack. (photo credit:screenshot)
In the postmortems of the terrorist car attacks in Jerusalem, it is easy to see the writing on the wall. Ibrahim al-Akary, the terrorist who on Wednesday ran over crowds of people waiting to cross the street and catch the Jerusalem Light Rail, was the brother of one of the terrorist murderers freed in exchange for IDF hostage Gilad Schalit.
He had placed the photograph on his Facebook page of Moataz Hejazi, the terrorist killed by police after shooting Yehuda Glick outside the Begin Heritage Center last Wednesday.
A few days before Abdur Rahman Slodi got into his car and mowed down three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and a dozen other pedestrians two weeks ago, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas exhorted the Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, by all means possible.
Slodi had served time in prison for terrorist offenses and was active on social media where he expressed murderous hatred for Jews and a desire to kill them.
So yes, the writing was on the wall. But unfortunately, the writing is on all the walls, or Facebook walls. It is not at all clear how Israeli security services could have known to distinguish these men from the thousands of other Palestinians and Jerusalem Arabs who hate Israel, support the murder of Jews and identify with various terrorist organizations.
On Thursday security forces arrested several people in villages around Hebron with suspected ties to Akary. So he may not have been acting on his own. But all the same, neither he nor Slodi seem to have been directed to carry out their attacks by a cell commander who himself was directed by a higher level terrorist operative.
Rather, in all likelihood, something triggered both men to carry out attacks in a wholly independent or semi-independent manner.
The question is, what was the trigger and how was it pulled? The Israeli media are obsessed with the question of whether or not we are experiencing an third Palestinian terrorist onslaught, or intifada. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch insists that we are not. Others insist that we are. Whatever we want to call it, we are seeing a new form of Palestinian terrorist warfare against Israel, which in many key aspects mimics the larger jihad carried out by al-Qaida and its affiliates and spin-offs.
In a recent article in the online Small Wars Journal, Maj. Nicholas Pace from NATO's Joint Forces Command discussed how al-Qaida and Islamic State have decentralized their terrorist networks.
Due to the superior signals intelligence fielded by the US, Pace explained, al-Qaida and Islamic State have diffused and decentralized their networks into smaller hubs that operate independently.
The role of terrorist chiefs like al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is to inspire and incite, and to a degree direct, operations, rather than plan and order them.
Today the main factor unifying al-Qaida and Islamic State and their sister groups and followers in the region and worldwide is ideology.
They all share the same hatred of the West, of all religions other than Islam and of all competing forms of Islam. They all seek the establishment of a global caliphate that will rule the world under the banner of Islam.
As Pace notes, this shared ideology was all that US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan needed to feel that he was a member of al-Qaida when in 2009, after have a few Internet communications with al-Qaida ideologue Awar al-Awlaki, he walked onto the Fort Hood military base in Texas and massacred his fellow soldiers.
Pace argues that Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria also operate along a decentralized model of operations, and the more they are directly targeted by the US and its allies, the more they will decentralize and compartmentalize their force structure.
The operational advantage of this model is that it gives enormous flexibility and independence to operatives in the field to maximize their resources. The drawback is that those resources tend to be less sophisticated than those that can be brought to bear by a centrally organized and resourced military organization.
But this isn't really a problem for jihadists.
As Pace notes, they see themselves as soldiers in a long-term struggle. Their goal is not necessarily to conquer their target populations. Rather they seek to make life impossible for target societies.
Mass chaos sowed by constant, low intensity, near-scatter-shot attacks can over time be sufficient to break the will of a targeted society or military organization to fight them.
Certainly this has been the case for the Iraqi military that has melted away in the face of Islamic State's fanatical troops.
For such a decentralized military system to work, the leadership needs two things: a shared ideology, and communications capabilities that enable them to incite and loosely directly violence.
Ideology is not something that people pick up or discard quickly or easily. For a person to be attracted to the jihadist cause he has to undergo indoctrination over a significant period of time.
You cannot incite a person to strike if he hasn't already been indoctrinated in a manner that makes him amenable to your incendiary call to action.
And this brings us back to the Palestinians and the trigger for the attacks conducted by independent or semi-independent terrorist operatives.
With the exception of Pakistani students in madrassas, few societies have undergone the mass indoctrination that the Palestinians have undergone over the past 20 years of Palestinian Authority rule. From the cradle to the grave, and most significantly in the school system, Palestinians are indoctrinated to hate Jews and seek the violent destruction of Israel. They are told that it is an Islamic duty to fight Jews and destroy Israel.
This is as true in regular PA schools as it is in schools run by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA).
We are experiencing today in Jerusalem a decentralized terrorist campaign rooted in the 20-year indoctrination of the Palestinians.
Yes, Hamas and Fatah still operate terrorist cells and units that are members of terrorist hierarchies.
But at the same time, they have used a model similar to al-Qaida's in developing semi-independent and wholly independent networks of operatives and operational cells. These independent cells are highly motivated and are willing to wait until they receive generalized signals from their leadership to strike.
So it was for instance in June with the kidnapping and murder of the three teenagers in Gush Etzion. A few weeks before the kidnapping took place, from his home in Qatar, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal remarked that Hamas needed more hostages to trade for jailed terrorists.
The terrorists in Hebron were motivated to strike. With the financial assistance of Saleh al-Arouri, the Hamas ideologue and operational commander in Turkey, they were able to purchase what they needed for the kidnapping. And when Mashaal said the time had come to kidnap Israelis, the countdown to the kidnap and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah began.
The cell was isolated and tiny. Mashaal's order was indirect.
In the case of the violence in Jerusalem, indoctrination in UNRWA schools in places like Shuafat refugee camp where Akary lived, not to mention throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza, has raised generations of Arabs who hate Israel and Jews.
Owing to this indoctrination, when presented with mass incitement by preachers in the mosques, and most importantly by the official Palestinian Authority media, these calls for violence are immediately embraced on a massive scale. Indeed, the comfort level that the Arabs of Jerusalem feel today in supporting terrorism may well be unprecedented.
For instance, until this Wednesday night, every time terrorists in Jerusalem used motor vehicles to murder Israelis, their families and neighbors insisted that they were not terrorists but hapless drivers. There had been no attack, merely a traffic accident.
On Wednesday night when reporters went to interview Akary's family and neighbors, they were met by shouts of praise for his murderous act. He was embraced as a martyr. And just as important, his act inspired mob violence in Shuafat and other Arab neighborhoods against police forces. For the first time, support for terrorism outweighed concern about alienating their Jewish neighbors or forcing police retaliation.
On Thursday Fatah's Facebook page was full of images calling for Palestinians to run over Jews.
As Palestinian Media Watch reported, one used a play on words between the Arabic acronym for Islamic State and the Arabic word for running something over, thus positively associating the terrorists who run over Jews with members of Islamic State.
Hamas – Fatah's partner in the PA's coalition government – was similarly quick to praise Akary and call for more such attacks.
In dealing with this burgeoning, decentralized terrorist campaign, aside from taking action to protect bus stops with various barricades, Israel needs to go after the triggers.
It needs to break up the indoctrination system.
And it needs to destroy the Palestinian leadership's ability to communicate their incendiary messages.
Since UNRWA schools operating in Jerusalem engage in anti-Semitic indoctrination, Jerusalem municipal authorities must give them the choice of using Israeli textbooks or shutting down. If Israel wishes to assert its sovereignty, UNRWA schools would be a good place to start. Beyond that, preachers in mosques who incite murder and call for the destruction of Israel should be arrested.
As for the PA's communications networks, all of the radio and television signals operating in the PA come from the Israeli electromagnetic spectrum. It is time to shut them down. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Wednesday, Abbas is directly inciting the murderous attacks on Jerusalem through the PA media organs. The way to protect Jerusalem is to remove him and his Hamas partners from the airwaves.
There has been a lot of talk over the years about providing positive and negative incentives to convince the Palestinians not to engage in terrorism.
But now is not the time for incentives. The population mobilized through incitement has become too fanatical to engage with reason.
The terrorists who take the wheel and run over pedestrians know that they will more than likely never come home. And they don't care.
They certainly don't care that Israel will destroy their homes. And they also certainly won't be impressed by discounted mortgages if they integrate into Israeli society.
In the long term, it is imperative that Israel provide incentives to both the Jerusalem Arabs and the Palestinians to integrate peacefully with Israeli society. But before the government can seriously engage in this task, it needs to destroy the triggers of this terrorist onslaught. It is not enough to complain about Palestinian indoctrination and incitement. It is time for Israel to end them.
Masked Arabs clash with Israeli security forces in anti-Israel riot outside the Ofer prison between Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Photo Credit: Flash 90
Arabs with Israeli citizenship called for a "third intifada" on Saturday in protests in Haifa and trendy neighborhood in Jerusalem and riots in the Galilee in northern Israel, in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
The radical Islamic Movement, whose northern branch is headquartered in Umm el-Fahm in the Lower Galilee, called settlers "dogs" and hailed the Arab terrorist who was killed by police Friday night a "martyr."
Rock -throwing spread from the usual hotspots in Judea and Samaria to a major highway north of central Israel. Two Egged bus passengers suffered light wounds when rocks were thrown as the bus passed the police station near the Iron Junction, east of Hadera.
A three-year-old child was one of several Jews lightly injured by rock-throwing terrorists near the community of Shilo in Samaria.
Rioters in Jerusalem caused light damage to the light rail system, used by Arabs and Jews.
In the up-scale German Colony neighborhood in Jerusalem, 100 members of the left-wing Hadash party staged a protest blaming the Netanyahu government for the escalation of violence in eastern Jerusalem.
Border Police clashed with rioters in the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem and in eastern Jerusalem.
Arabs look out from the opening for terrorists to walk the security wall between Ramallah and Jerusalem and Ramallah.